You are not alone: When ANXIETY makes you feel crazy

May 26, 2015 by

You are not alone: When ANXIETY makes you feel crazy

This morning I had a big, crummy, panic attack. Not once of those “Oh my god I opened the electric bill this month and almost had a panic attack”… no. Not that. Nope, not a “Holy $#i! that spider gave me a panic attack!” And certainly not happy little butterflies that one gets in their stomach before a first date. No. Not that….

 

This was more like being chased by hungry dinosaurs and clowns with chain saws towards a cliff over shark infested waters. And it came out of nowhere -that’s the worst part.

 

I can handle emergencies, I can handle deployments, I can handle excessive amounts of blood and screaming toddlers from whence said blood flows. (The joys of nanny-hood and poorly designed playground equipment)….I was a rockstar-911-calling-superhero-with-a-fire-extinguisher that time a drunk kid drove his car into my neighbor’s house and the whole dang thing started on fire. I can handle an emergency with a cool head and amazing grace. Its regular ol’ life that catches me off guard some times.

 

Bible Verses and relaxation ideas for anxiety sufferers
You’ve probably figured out by now that I suffer from Anxiety Disorder. Most days this is not a big deal. Most days I even forget I have it. Most days I function just fine thank-you-very-much. Most days I am perfectly normal …. But every so often I get struck with a case of OMGICANTBREATHE followed by extreme embarrassment and often a killer headache and the urge to consume copious amounts of wine.
Occasional anxiety is of course normal and necessary for life. I would say that it is totally legit to feel anxious over an important decision at work, or a huge exam, or making a big decision, or right before a medical procedure. This kind of anxiety is one of those evolutionary necessities that tell us when to take action and keep us out of harms way. This is not the kind of anxiety I’m talking about. That’s not even close.
I’m not talking about everyday worries that are founded on something to be fearful of. I’m not talking about a worry or fear that is temporary… I’m talking about mind-numbing, baseless anxiety which renders its victim helpless and often in the fetal position on the floor.
It’s the seemingly out-of-the-blue panic attacks that upset me the most. I feel like I am a totally logical and rational person, but every so often, panic strikes. I know in my head that there is nothing to worry about and yet I’ll be standing in the middle of the supermarket feeling like things are out of my control. My heart pounds so that I can hear it in my ears, I get dizzy, I swear I’m having a heart attack…if it’s really bad I start to hyperventilate and suddenly I’ve convinced myself that I’m most likely going to die or be abducted by aliens any.minute.now.
The first time this ever happened to me I was a senior in high school thinking about going away to college. Fear and worry about leaving my mother alone, moving and saying good bye to friends and my long time boyfriend consumed my every thought. (This is normal. ) I had applied to 12 schools and was accepted at 11 of them. The only school that turned me down was, as luck would have it, the only one I really wanted to attend. Trying to decide where to go after that was a difficult process.

 

One evening, in the middle of a re-run of Saved By the Bell, I suddenly couldn’t breathe. It felt as though my body were closing in on itself. My boyfriend, who was sitting next to me, tried to console me, but it was as if I couldn’t hear his voice. It felt like the blood running through my body was too thick for my veins and my chest was constricting. I was convinced I was having a stroke or a heart attack, which of course made the fear worse. I wasn’t breathing…. Eventually my boyfriend carried me upstairs and dumped me into a cold shower. (I would not recommend this method.) It startled me enough though to bring my mind back to the present and to eventually calm down.


WebMD states that anxiety disorders cannot be prevented. But over the course of the past 14 or so years I have learned that there are some things you can to do help curb the symptoms.

  • Limit caffeine intake, and anything else that makes your heart race unnecessarily.

 

  • Talk to your doc! No really. I was so afraid that I was going crazy that it took me years to seek professional help. The doctor can recommend different therapies, herbal remedies and prescription drugs to help you cope.
    • One thing I learned was that often, just having the anxiety reducing medication in my pocket was enough of a secret weapon to keep panic attacks at bay.

 

  • Seek counseling or therapy as soon as you can. I went to a behavioral therapist for a while who taught me excellent relaxation techniques and counting exercises to help when I feel a panic attack coming on.

 

  • Learn to deep breathe. Controlled and counted breathing is an excellent strategy for both reducing anxiety and lessening the effects of panic. I breathe in for six-eight counts through my nose and exhale quickly through my mouth for counts of 4. This helps to get more oxygen quickly into my system and makes me focus on something other than worry.

 

  • Tackle known stressors. Stress is the enemy here. Really. I always understand, after the fact, that the underlying trigger of a panic attack was a much deeper and often hidden stress.
    Know that you are not alone and that this does not define you. Say it over and over to yourself. “I am not alone. I am not a panic attack.” (wait…. Talking to yourself, is that the first sign of some other mental disorder?)

OK but really, not only are there a gazillion other people in this world who stuffer from anxiety too. Above and beyond all that, God promises that he will not leave us in our times of suffering and that my friends, is pretty amazing.

God promises that he will not leave us in our times of suffering and that my friends, is pretty… Click To Tweet

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

6 Comments

  1. jenn

    Thank you for sharing this. I was feeling a little anxious myself this morning, and I stumbled upon this. I wish you joy and wellness today.

  2. Thank you for writing this. About

    years ago, I kept having sort of blackouts and generally felt ill a lot of the time. When I eventually went to the doctors, I was told it was anxiety. I shunned the idea, but thankfully the doctor was firm enough with me to make me understand just how much anxiety impacts us.

  3. I have an anxiety disorder as well. I have found from my experience it can really be hard to find a good therapist, but a good one is worth a million tries!! I have been really helped by medication- I wish I had taken it earlier because it has been a huge difference in quality of life!

  4. I understand what you are going through. I suffer from anxiety disorder and hate when I get panic attacks out of nowhere. Deep breathing has helped me a lot, along with taking a walk.

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